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Professional Ratings: 95 Wine & Spirits, 94 The Wine Advocate, 93 Wine Spectator
Region: Rioja, Spain
Item no. 127465
Recently, Patrick Mata and Alberto Orte of Peninsula Wines held a tasting of Riojas they’d purchased at auction in Spain. The wines had been held in the cold cellar of Los Tamarises, the Lazcano family’s restaurant in Getxo, north of Bilbao; the stash included a number of Cune Imperial wines from the 1950s and ’60s, which turned out to be the stars of the tasting. They are selling those wines to restaurants here in the US, providing a rare opportunity to taste grand old Rioja. If you can’t find (or afford) one of those bottles, here’s the next best thing: A vintage of Imperial that will provide exceptional drinking for the next forty years. No exaggeration. This is the stuff. It has the cool presence of Villalba fruit, from the mountains lining the western reaches of Rioja Alta, and a deep, plump currant and fraise de bois flavor with a briskness to balance its meaty, mineral-driven tannins. A 2001 destined to become a coveted classic.
A more complex, better defined nose than 200, with black cherries, spice and Seville orange marmalade. The palate is medium-bodied, with fine tannins cloaked in sweet dark cherry, bitter orange and strawberry fruit. It is lighter on its feet than the 2000, with less persistence, yet it shows greater harmony and tension. this is a fabulous Gran Reserva with enormous weight and dimension.
Alluring aromas of spice, cedar and tobacco carry through on the palate in this supple, graceful red. Shows dried cherry, orange peel, vanilla and mineral flavors with light, firm tannins and racy acidity. Balanced and focused, in the traditional style. Drink now through 2018. 8,000 cases made